We have the opportunity for Africa to awaken the full potential that we see in ourselves .....hope that for the first time is not based on foreign solutions and support, but is based on the wealth of local resources that Africa is endowed with. REMIX
Proposal by Mugove Walter Nyika, Malawi...... We have the opportunity for Africa to awaken the full potential that we see in ourselves, in our outlook, perception and design, to manifest a civilizatio
Africa is the unenviable paradox of a continent that has the potential to show the world the path to sustainability and yet it is undergoing the most rapid destruction of its natural endowment. It is a place where some communities are making last ditch attempts to retain their bond with their natural heritage on which they have built their knowledge systems. It is a continent that is labouring under exploitative relationships with global capital and has been on the receiving end of global political and economic greed for over a century. As a result, there has been a stream of negative stories coming out of Africa for decades... but all hope is not lost! Communities in Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ghana, Swaziland, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Botswana, Liberia, starting as early as 1987 began using the Permaculture approach to turn around their situation and that of their resource base and began a journey towards improved quality of life and sustainable development. We are proud to have Africa chosen as host to the global Permaculture community this year, a biennial conference and convergence to share experiences, network and fast track development solutions. African Permaculturalists will stand proud among the two to three hundred participants expected to attend from countries around the world. This is a chance to reach out to policy makers and to the general public with the message of hope about the future of Africa: hope that for the first time is not based on foreign solutions and support, but is based on the wealth of local resources that Africa is endowed with.
The Theme for the Convergence is Plan Africa ~ Food and Empowerment and is based on inspiring, informing and enabling a development strategy for Africa that seeks to understand our natural heritage and the inherent wealth that it contains and find ways of unlocking value so as to create strong sustainable regional economies that are in harmony with nature. Underlying this theme is the by-line 'Designing solutions for a sustainable future'. The Conference and Convergence will serve to highlight ways of empowering marginalized communities out of poverty through concerted well-designed social and economic development. The starting point is learning to manage our precious water resources so as to use rain water as the basis for run off agriculture as Africa simply doesn't have enough water to rely on irrigated agriculture to feed, clothe and power us. Once the water management is sorted out, the focus shifts to soil conservation and improvement, preparing the way for the agro-forestry system. Then we look to see what plants, shrubs and trees we can utilize that are indigenous to an area and that will extract maximum economic value for the surrounding communities, creating jobs through harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting and adding value to the natural capital we are creating.
Thus we start to see a value chain of opportunities unfolding where none previously existed providing the food, fuel, fiber and medicine that are the cornerstones of our industrialized economy. This theme weaves well with the cross cutting issues of education, gender, green economics, disaster preparedness, health and HIV & AIDS which are particularly important for us to take on board as we move forward.
- Strategies for strengthening Permaculture education and training in Africa
- Increased awareness of the strategic importance of the alternative development paradigm among the young generation and the policy makers
- Increased confidence and motivation among the Permaculture teachers and farmers in Africa.
- Improved networking and organizational development for the Permaculture movement in Africa
- Raised profile of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and the Natural Resource Management model for endogenous development
- Increased awareness among African farmers of the alternatives to the 'green revolution' approach
- Increased understanding in the international (Permaculturalists and others) community of the issues around development in Africa
- Higher recognition among the government officials, funding community and other key stakeholders of the huge potential of Permaculture in transforming lives, landscapes, the development outlook of Africa
- Practical solutions for global challenges described
Who Will Attend The Convergence will bring together the global Permaculture movement with two to three hundred participants expected to attend from around the world. It is envisaged that the participants will come from all five continents with the majority being from the African states. The Conference is aimed at policy makers, extension agencies, corporate leadership, strategic planners, non governmental & civil society organizations, businesses, development workers, health professionals, green architects and designers, farmers, academics, the media, Permaculture trainers and practitioners. It is envisaged that the conference will be attended by over 500 people including school children from nearby schools, with an additional opening event and a sustainable livelihoods EXPO open to the public. We will design a detailed marketing and information strategy to communicate the new ideas and solutions to the widest possible audience utilizing all media and marketing channels.
Permaculture offers an appropriate bottom up and holistic approach development solution to Africa's impasse. Its strength relies on and builds on the foundation of indigenous knowledge and locally available resources. It is a philosophy and development strategy that weaves together climate, plants, animals, building design, soil, water and energy management into cohesive sustainable social systems.
Permaculture applies techniques and principles from ecology, cooperative economics, appropriate technology, sustainable agriculture, and the wisdom of indigenous people to create sustainable human environments, at home, at work, at play, and in our communities. As such, the promise of Permaculture extends far beyond food production systems to explore new potentials and horizons for a sustainable life on Earth.
In Southern Africa the Permaculture movement has been steadily growing since the early 1990's, with key players becoming more professional, embracing a wide range of issues from food production to utilizing Permaculture as a developmental planning tool for large-scale earth restoration and social regeneration. There are Permaculture projects in our schools, prisons, clinics and communities all over Southern Africa. However, very few of the beautiful stories coming from these initiatives have been shared adequately. IPC9 will provide an opportunity to begin to document the success stories and use these as a launch pad for wider application of the Permaculture design tools.
The 9th International Permaculture Conference and Convergence provides an opportunity for Africa to vision the future it wants. It's time for the Permaculture community to focus on the reality that we want to live, design it thoroughly and implement the visions. The time is now; it is up to us . . .
The IPC9 Conference is an opportunity to build relationships between civil society, government and business; it has the potential to unlock new ways of dealing with age-old problems at a time where we are battling to find a way forward. It is an opportunity to lay the foundations for the scaling up of development initiatives that are truly sustainable especially in Agriculture which is central to development in Africa.
We see IPC9 not just as an event but as a process which should lead eventually to the mainstreaming of the sustainable development approaches on the continent and in the world at large. IPC9 will be very significant for providing a platform for the numerous small Permaculture projects on the continent to get together and strategize for scaling up, advocacy and presenting a unified response to the many false solutions that are being imposed on the continent. The communities that have started on the path to sustainable living on the continent will use the events to share their promising and inspiring stories. They would like to show the world that there is an alternative to the high external input approach that is still being pushed even after decades of failing to turn around the situation of the small scale African farm.
Mugove Walter Nyika is the Coordinator for the International Permaculture Conference and Convergence which will take place in November 2009, and is the Director of the Regional Schools and Colleges Permaculture Programme which provides technical support to partner organizations in 7 countries that are working with school and college communities to demonstrate and promote sustainable environmental management.
Considerable research can be applied to building materials, and growing them. In the search for practical architecture, rainwater harvesting, and rooftop gadens will be explored. Permaculture seeks to re-create ecosystems, and we are a part of it, not apart from it, so our direct surroundings will become part of the forrest gardens which many permaculturists envision.................http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5ZgzwoQ-ao..........................
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